Beautiful RARE certificate from the Mustang Ranch, Inc.
in 1990. This historic document was printed by the United States Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of the Company's name. This item has the printed signatures of the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, and Secretary, and is over 29 years old. This was the certificate designed for their failed IPO that never got off since they couldn't rise to the occasion. We have only seen a couple of these certificates believe them to be quite RARE.
The Mustang Ranch, originally known as the Mustang Bridge Ranch, was a brothel in Storey County, Nevada, eight miles east of Reno. Mustang Ranch Inc. tried to mount an IPO on the Nasdaq Stock Market in 1990, but was unable to get necessary regulatory approval from the various states, many of which recoiled at the notion of sanctioning the sex trade.
Under owner Joe Conforte, it became Nevada's first licensed brothel in 1971, eventually leading to the legalization of brothel prostitution in 10 of 17 counties in the state. It became Nevada's largest brothel, with more revenue than all other legal Nevada brothels combined.
The Mustang Ranch was forfeited to the federal government in 1999 following Conforte's convictions for tax fraud, racketeering and other crimes. It was auctioned off and reopened five miles to the east under the same name but different ownership.
The prostitutes lived on the ranch during their entire shift, which lasted from several days to several weeks. In the 1970s, the women were bikini clad. Their shifts lasted 12 hours per day and they served six customers on average. Women had to pay for their rooms and for any vendors who came to the Ranch. Medicine and cosmetics were purchased by non-prostitute employees who lived in Sparks, Nevada. Doctors came to the ranch to do pelvic exams and check for sexually transmitted diseases. The only time women were allowed out was during menstruation. More than one woman shared the rent for an apartment in Reno or Sparks. Women not working on the ranch were not allowed in. Owner Joe Conforte allowed "out parties" for high rollers to take the women to hotels in Reno. Joe Conforte and his wife Sally were always friendly to regular customers.
Las Vegas reporter Colin McKinlay visited the Mustang Ranch to do one of the first reports ever allowed by Mustang management. He wrote, "The women were the most beautiful of any fantasy of man. The line-up contained the most pale of Nordic blonde to the midnight of ebony; a wide eyed waif and wrinkled senior; rail thin to pudgy; tall women stood next to near dwarfs, all to answer the buzzer."
As in other Nevada brothels, customers were buzzed in through a gate. Once in, they chose a woman from a lineup in a lobby, and negotiated prices and services in the woman's room. She checked the penis for any open sores or signs of veneral disease and tested the pre-ejaculatory fluid. A short negotiation was made as to the type of "party" the customer wanted. Typical prices ranged from $100 to $500 plus tips. Some women, who performed bizarre acts approved by the Confortes, could get up to $10,000 for a party. The house received half of anything the women made. In the late 1960s, $25.00 for 30 minutes with half and half. After the negotiations (overheard by a hidden intercom system) were over, the prostitute collected the money and deposited it with a cashier. She returned to the room, washed the male genitals in a basin. After the act, she would again wash the male and slip on her skimpy outfit. He would dress to be escorted to the door. Some men would relax in the bar or on sofas talking to the girls. In time the men would be rested for "round two." Many men had favorites or wanted variety. They could be with as many women as they could afford. The fantasy of two and three women simultaneously was common. Another frequent fantasy was of an older and younger prostitute being intimate with the customer and each other; he pretended they were mother and daughter.
The house rules forbade anal sex and kissing on the mouth. Many major-league sports figures and entertainment-industry types would visit the Mustang Ranch. After 1985, due to HIV/AIDS, Nevada state law required customers to wear condoms for both intercourse and oral sex. The women were not allowed to reject a customer who was willing to pay the house minimum and abide by the rules. For the safety of the women, every room had a hidden panic button. Gun towers and guards were present to keep the women in and strangers out.
Mapes Hotel bellmen in Reno directed men to the Mustang Ranch. Cab drivers typically received 10% commissions on the money their customers spent at the ranch.
Alexa Albert, who conducted interviews with several women in the Mustang Ranch from 1993 to 1996, reported that at one point, the brothel required all women to have pimps, who were thought to make the women work harder. Although this practice had stopped by the 1990s, many women were still pressured into the work by boyfriends, husbands, or other family members. About half of the women reported having been sexually abused as children.[
The brothel started out as a set of four double-wide trailers, run by Richard Bennet and initially called Mustang Bridge Ranch. Joe Conforte (1926-), who had owned several brothels in Nevada together with his wife, Sally Burgess Conforte aka Jesse E. Conforte (1917-1992) since October 1955, took over the Mustang Ranch in 1967. At this time, brothels were not explicitly illegal in Nevada, but some had been closed as public nuisances.
Conforte gained political influence in Storey County (by renting out cheap trailers and telling the renters how to vote) and persuaded county officials to pass a brothel-licensing ordinance, which came into effect in 1971. Joe Conforte was featured in Look magazine, June 29, 1971 and on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine November 23, 1972.
The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the right of a county to legalize prostitution, and several counties followed suit. Conforte converted the trailers into a permanent structure with 54 bedrooms. Mustang I had a spa room with jacuzzi. The swimming pool was for adult play.
Initially, the brothel did not serve black customers. In 1967, a separate trailer for blacks was built, and the prostitutes were allowed to refuse these men. This segregation was later abandoned, but black customers were still announced by a special signal, so that women could choose not to join the lineup, something not allowed for white customers.
In 1976, the world class boxer Oscar Bonavena (1942-1976), who was a former friend of Conforte's and probably had an affair with his wife Sally, was shot dead at the ranch by Conforte's bodyguard.
In 1982, Mustang II with 48 bedrooms was built a hundred meters away from Mustang I. A bit smaller and not as luxurious as Mustang I, mostly new women and women demoted from Mustang I for some infraction worked there.
After losing a tax fraud case in 1990, the brothel was closed for three months and auctioned off. Conforte fled the United States and now lives in Brazil. The brothel was bought by a holding company (a front for Conforte) and stayed open. After that company and the brothel's manager (a former county commissioner) lost a federal fraud, racketeering and conspiracy case in 1999, the Mustang Ranch was closed and forfeited to the federal government. The Brazil Supreme Court ruled in the same year that Conforte could not be extradited.
In 2002, the brothel's furniture, paintings and accessories were auctioned off. The Bureau of Land Management sold the Ranch's pink stucco structures on eBay in 2003. Bordello owner Lance Gilman purchased the buildings for $145,100 and moved them to his Wild Horse Adult Resort & Spa five miles to the east, where the relocated and extensively renovated buildings eventually became the second brothel located at that complex. However, the rights to the name Mustang Ranch, which Gilman had hoped to use for this new brothel, were tied up in a court battle with David Burgess, the owner of the Old Bridge Ranch, nephew of Joe Conforte, and manager of the Mustang Ranch from 1979 until 1989. In December 2006, a federal judge ruled that Gilman was the "exclusive owner of the Mustang Ranch trademark" giving him the rights to use the name and branding.
In late March 2007, the final remaining building, the Annex II which had been bought for $8,600 by Dennis Hof, was burned down in a fire department training exercise. A Reno Gazette-Journal report cited plans for the restoration of natural conditions to the section of the Truckee River flowing through the land, following the completion of a similar restoration five miles downstream on McCarran Ranch land owned by The Nature Conservancy. The McCarran Ranch had been the property of United States Senator Patrick McCarran, (1876-1954); when his last surviving daughter, Sister M. Margaret McCarran, SNJM (1904-1998) died, the land was deeded to The Nature Conservancy. It would likely include construction of natural meanders to the river channel and replacement of invasive whitetop (Lepidium draba) with native plants, willow and cottonwood trees. Such a restoration will cost millions of dollars and could begin by 2007.
The 1973 motion picture Charley Varrick contained a scene filmed at Mustang Ranch, with a cameo by Joe Conforte. Nevada writer Gabriel R. Vogliotti (1908-1983) did research living at the Mustang Ranch. In 1975 he authored The Girls of Nevada, with a subtitle on the dust jacket, Featuring Joe Conforte, Overseer of the Mustang Ranch. In 1978, Robert Goralnick wrote and directed Mustang: The House That Joe Built.
The 2009 film Love Ranch starring Helen Mirren is loosely based on the events at the Mustang Ranch. After a visit to the new Mustang Ranch in 2008 Mirren announced "I am a complete believer in legal brothels."
History from Wikipedia and OldCompany.com (old stock certificate research service).
About Specimen Certificates
Specimen Certificates are actual certificates that have never been issued. They were usually kept by the printers in their permanent archives as their only example of a particular certificate. Sometimes you will see a hand stamp on the certificate that says "Do not remove from file".
Specimens were also used to show prospective clients different types of certificate designs that were available. Specimen certificates are usually much scarcer than issued certificates. In fact, many times they are the only way to get a certificate for a particular company because the issued certificates were redeemed and destroyed. In a few instances, Specimen certificates were made for a company but were never used because a different design was chosen by the company.
These certificates are normally stamped "Specimen" or they have small holes spelling the word specimen. Most of the time they don't have a serial number, or they have a serial number of 00000. This is an exciting sector of the hobby that has grown in popularity over the past several years.